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Agenda, City Council, 5/14/15

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Nancy View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 11 2015 at 6:09pm
Below are the items that will be considered at the meeting.  A full copy of the agenda is available at http://www.cityofcolemantx.us/agendas/pdf/051415coucilagenda.pdf

 

1.     The City Council may consider, discuss and/or take actions to approve the Canvass of the City Officers Election conducted on May 09, 2015 and the Special Election to fill the vacancy in the North Ward which was also conducted on May 09, 2015 – Mayor Kay Joffrion and City Secretary Karen Langley.

 

2.     The City Council may consider, discuss and/or take actions authorizing the City Secretary, Karen Langley to swear in the newly elected Members of the City Council – Mayor Kay Joffrion and City Secretary Karen Langley.

 

3.     The newly elected City Officers shall assume their seats on the City Council.

 

4.     The City Council may consider, discuss and/or take actions to appoint the Mayor Pro Tem for the next one year period as per Section 2.08 of the City Charter – Nick Poldrack, Mayor, City of Coleman.

 

5.     The City Council may consider, discuss, and/or take actions to appoint City Attorney, Pat Chesser for a two year term to run concurrent with the term of the Mayor as per Section 2.10 of the City Charter – Nick Poldrack, Mayor, City of Coleman.

 

6.     The City Council may consider, discuss, and/or take actions to appoint Robert J. Nash as the Municipal Court Judge and Karen Langley as the Alternate Judge with 2 year terms to run concurrent with that of the Mayor as per Section 6.02 of the City Charter – Nick Poldrack, Mayor, City of Coleman.

 

7.     The City Council may consider, discuss, and/or take actions to approve of a Resolution to adopt revised rules and procedures for the conduct of City Council Meetings as authorized by Section 2.12 of the City Charter – Nick Poldrack, Mayor of the City of Coleman and Pat Chesser, City Attorney.

 

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Craig View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2015 at 5:39pm
Craig Allen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Craig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2015 at 5:43pm
It is very apparent that the new Mayor and council are on a mission to prevent citizens from offering input during the city council meetings unless the speaker will offer input that agrees with them.

I believe Kim Jong-un would be very proud of our new group.

Craig Allen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2015 at 4:05pm

Letter received via email.



In regards to the item of the City Council approving a Resolution to adopt revised rules and procedures for the conduct of City Council Meetings, please hear my plea for an equitable and constitutional application of any rules and procedures you would adopt.   

By rights the Texas Constitution gives every citizen the right in a peaceable manner to apply to those invested with the power of the government (i.e. City Council) any grievances a citizen may have.   This gives each citizen a right to address the City Council about any and all grievances they may have.   In addition, the ability of the citizens to address the City Council is a wonderful tool for each Council Member to hear the concerns of their constituents and govern for the people.   After all, this country was established under the idea that the government closest to the people governed best.  

Sec. 27. RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY; PETITION FOR REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES. The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good; and apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.

There are some things we as citizens want you to consider when establishing your new rules and procedures:

1.       Our founding fathers of this City established the Charter to state that each Council would determine the rules and procedures to operate meetings.    To set in writing, and by resolution, rules and procedures for conducting meetings would take away the right that our founding fathers were protecting—the right for each council to decide procedures and rules for each unique council.   Establishing a set policy about rules and procedures  would take away the flexibility of each new council to meet the needs of the citizens and the city.    Just as court cases do, resolutions set precedence.    Are you as a council willing to say that our founding fathers did not have the same type of foresight that James Madison had when he said “governments are too unstable that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”    In this statement James Madison did not mean minor party and majority as the number of people on each side but by the party that had the most money, power and resources as being the majority.   

2.       So to set rules and procedures to paper are setting rules and procedures that must be abided by all.    Therefore, we respectfully request that if the rules you adopt for procedures state that the citizens are bound by any restrictions, therefore, the council will be bound by the same restriction.   For example, if citizens must address the council in a peaceable, respectful manner, then the Council must address the citizens in a peaceable, respectful manner.   

3.       While we respect the right given to the Council under the Texas Open Meetings Act and through Opinions of the Attorney General, we request that your limitations of time to set on the citizens to address the council be written in specifically.   For example, each citizen may speak for only 3 minutes on each agenda item and that each agenda item may have 10 citizens speak.  

4.       If time limits are to be set, then it should be written in that the citizens may sign up for time in an agenda item but be able to pass that time to a different agenda item and/or to another citizen to speak.    This will give both the Council a chance to hear citizens’ concerns and the citizens a chance to address issues of concern.   

5.       In addition, if citizens are to sign up to speak for an agenda item at the beginning of the meeting that these requests be numbered by agenda item and in the order received.   

6.       By implementing numbers 4 and 5, we as the citizens believe this is the best way to ensure that all citizens are heard as established by the Attorney General opinion that states “such a policy must be administered in an even-handed fashion, and that the commissioners may not discriminate against a particular point of view. Such limits … must not be arbitrary or unreasonable, and must not unfairly discriminate among views seeking expression.” 

“As long as the reason of man continues to be fallible and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.    As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other.”   --James Madison, 1837

This statement is still truth for man today.   It is why there are different opinions and why everyone’s opinion needs to be balanced against another person’s opinion.    Each person’s interest in a subject will contain a bias to his own self- interest.    That is human nature.    And I truly believe that each citizen and Council member who attend these meetings have the purest of intentions to do what is in the best interest of the city.    However due to our own judgmental bias in favor of our opinions, it is possible to corrupt the integrity of the situation to suit only one side.   Justice ought to be balanced.    Please keep this in mind when voting on and establishing any rules and procedures for council meetings.  

 

 

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mm1987 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2015 at 5:41pm
My issue is with the wording at the top of the speaker request form that someone be allowed to speak at the discretion of the mayor or presiding officer. 

I have spent a bit of time combing through Texas state open meeting laws and have not found what I am looking for.  Maybe someone else is better versed in this than I.  Does Texas have a law similar to the Brown Act in California?  If so, then the wording at the top of the request form would indeed be illegal.  Just throwing that out there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2015 at 7:41pm
I'm not crazy about it either, mm, but am afraid they're well within Texas Open Meeting laws. 
 
As I understand it, the Brown Act ... no relation to Willie ...  is that part of California's open meetings law that pertains to local governments.  See http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/california/open-meetings-laws-california
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2015 at 10:12pm
I will be posting the video of the city council meeting tomorrow morning after it processes.

In the meantime, this little video from George Orwell might fit nicely.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mm1987 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2015 at 10:13pm
Thanks for the info Nancy. Well I suppose we should get used to being silenced in that particular forum. Funny thing about censorship is that it tends to open up many other forums of free thought. That's ok, we have actions we can take regardless.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2015 at 10:20pm
If the words "intoxication of power" don't terrify you, you're beyond redemption. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2015 at 10:20pm
Wise words, mm.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Craig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2015 at 9:26am
Video of Coleman city council meeting, May 14th, 2015.

Highlights include installation of new members of the council, reconfirmation of Pat Chesser as city attorney for two more years and appointment of Robert Nash as city judge and Karen Langley as alternative.

Several people spoke during the 5 minute period reserved for comments by citizens. This item is for comments NOT on the agenda.  Mr. Jody Payne and Mr. Ross Jones, spoke in favor of the resolution that was on the agenda and asked the council members to pass this resolution so that there would be a clear set of rules that could be followed.

Nancy Emmert read a very well crafted later from Eric Joffrion on transparency and the progress that Mayor Kay Joffrion had brought to Coleman.  Jeannie Moss also took the podium to remind newly installed members, particularly councilwoman Merriman, that they (she) had made promises to the citizens, including that she would welcome citizen input, listen and do her best to act upon these citizens concerns.

Sara LeMoine Knox, spoke and reminded the council that rules are indeed great and reminded the council that this section of the agenda is not for commenting on item on the agenda and asked that if we are going to have rules, then they should be followed.

As the last item item on the agenda,  the resolution was read. A short introduction was given by Mr. Chesser. Councilman Jameson asked what the resolution number was. After absolutely no discussion, this far reaching resolution was voted on and passed 4-0.

Citizen input has now been reduced from 5 minutes to 3 minutes (a 40% reduction in time to speak)  during the "hearing from visitors on items not on the agenda". In addition you must now fill out a form to speak during this period.

Citizen input during the regular session, per this new resolution also requires that you fill out a form in advance.  Hopefully you know exactly what discussions might reveal so you can know in advance what input by yourself, a citizen might be useful to the council so they might make the most informed decisions.




Edited by Craig - May 15 2015 at 9:56am
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